Watering the Tulips
October 23, 2013
“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” – Matthew 4:19
You cannot be a faithful follower of Jesus if you are not a fisher of men. That statement may be shocking in modern Christendom, but it’s a fact. Clearly, Jesus said if we follow Him, we are to be fishers of men. In a day when being a Christian is little more than following a list of rules (which differs from congregation to congregation), this verse is quite a astounding. Simply, a life committed to following our great Leader, is a life committed to lead others to do the same.
Let it never be thought for a moment that we have the ability to make a goat into a sheep…or, perhaps in this analogy, a duck into a fish. We do not. God alone can change the nature. And yet, we are commanded to fish for men. Any supposed contradiction between these two truths is a misunderstanding of Bible doctrine generally caused by an overemphasis on one point or another. God saves, but He uses His own to reach others.
Paul was fully acquainted with the role of the Holy Spirit in drawing men to Christ. And yet, Paul said,“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). Paul’s desire was to be used by God to reach others. The New Testament is proof enough that he spent his life seeking to do this very thing.
If we are to fish, what is to be the bait? The Bible gives a clear answer to this question – the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”. Romans 1:16says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek”. And again, Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. A host of other verses could be given to validate this point. But, these are clear enough.
We cannot improve the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Any attempt to make the Gospel more appealing to the lost is a corruption of it. If we seek to use worldly means to reach the lost, we will draw in the world just as garbage draws flies. Clearly, this has happened often in today’s Christian world to the point that many services have become little more than a “Sunday Morning Circus”. Oftentimes, a supposed “Gospel presentation” is “effective” because the lost are offered what they already want (prosperity).
This doesn’t mean that we cannot adapt to culture. Newspaper articles were not used in the 1st Century but are effective today. But the message stays the same. It cannot be changed. Paul spoke of adapting to culture when he said, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law,that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became asweak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). He adapted personally. However, the message of the Gospel never changed.
Child of God, seek to be a soul winner (Proverbs 11:30). But, do not try to improve God’s prescribed method.
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your App to the Gospel” is available in iTunes, Google Play, and the Windows Phone Marketplace. Please download it today.